Ok son, put the Twitter down and back away slowly...
Twitter sent some downtime notices today via a regular friends_timeline JSON request. Even though the downtime is a bummer, this kind of error reporting is really nice, as you aren't left with that "should I keep refreshing the page?" feeling.
Often Twitter crashes return full XHTML pages to API calls, like the "Too many tweets!" page with the whale that we've been seeing lately. These aren't parsed into a Twitter feed like this error message was (API rate limit notices and other errors are returned as valid JSON though). This can be worked around by looking at the HTTP code that is returned, but I wish there was some way for the app to return valid JSON error messages to API requests instead of the default XHTML crash pages.
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Tags: twitter, downtime, maintenance, error reporting, itweet